The City of Kigali (CoK) officials have raised concerns over 27,000 residential houses that are at high risk for flooding and landslides despite being located in residential zones in 35 sectors of the capital. The concern was raised by the City of Kigali’s vice-mayor in charge of urbanisation and infrastructure, Merard Mpabwanamaguru, during a press conference on April 17. The figure was shared after informing the public that some 54 families who were living in Urukumbuzi real estate will be relocated to pave way for renovation after being found at high risk of collapsing. ALSO READ: Kigali City to relocate 13,000 households “The recent assessment found 24,404 plots with about 27,000 houses that are in high-risk zones despite living in residential areas,” he said. The high-risk zones are those that put people’s lives at risk namely wetlands, sloppy land, living 10 metres from drainages, and others, Mpabwanamaguru explained. He said that high-risk zones are also those in residential zones but in unplanned settlements creating vulnerability. ALSO READ: Govt issues new guidelines to reduce informal settlements “They are places that are inaccessible, especially during an emergency. Due to lack of basic infrastructure such as drainages, roads, walkways, flood mitigation facilities, and others, these zones become high risk,” he said. To reduce vulnerability to high-risk zones in residential areas of the master plan, there are different projects to upgrade unplanned settlements. “The number of residential houses in high-risk zones due to unplanned settlements is gradually decreasing, thanks to different projects to upgrade these sites. During the upgrading, we ensure that every house is accessible during emergencies, and has access to basic infrastructures such as walkways, drainages, and roads among others. This reduces vulnerability to high-risk zones,” Mpabwanamaguru said. ALSO READ: Inside new model to upgrade informal settlements Such projects include the upgrading of areas of Biryogo, Mpazi, Nyagatovu, and Gatenga. “The zones that were considered as high risk have to be made safe through projects like master plan implementation and designing settlements with basic infrastructure to reduce vulnerability,” Mpabwanamuguru noted. Kigali’s major unplanned settlements will soon be upgraded at the cost of $70 million (approx. Rwf76 billion), officials said in February 2023. The unplanned settlements in Nyarugenge, Kicukiro, and Gasabo districts will get basic infrastructure such as roads, pedestrian ways, drainages, street lights, electricity, health centres, markets, schools, water, and others that are needed to facilitate people’s daily businesses. The four unplanned settlements selected in the City of Kigali are Mpazi in Nyarugenge District, Gatenga in Kicukiro District, and Nyagatovu and Nyabisindu both located in Gasabo District. Flood hotspots Mpabwanamaguru said that there is also a project to avert flooding by looking at six flood hotspots city. ALSO READ: City of Kigali sounds warning as floods kill three people The critical flood hotspots are Rwampara, Rugunga, Kinamba, Kanogo, former Cadilac, Kiruhura, and Prince House. Flood sensors are being set up on critical flooded spots across the city to control the level of floods and strengthen the early warning system. “Some of them have already been set up,” he said. The flood sensors will also be updating us—every five to 15 minutes—about water levels, quantity, depth, and speed of the stormwater in rivers and drainages.